Feed the Deed: Kindness Really Does Count

By Jacob Lipnik on February 15, 2014

Over the past couple weeks, two new viral phenomena, one born from the other, have taken over Facebook: NekNominations and Feed the Deed. They haven’t become full blown in the United States just yet (although they’ve started to gain traction in Michigan), but they’re sure to arrive soon—Facebook fads are almost always unavoidable.

Where these phenomena have really taken over is Canada. For anyone with a few friends in the Great White North, you’ve surely seen countless videos that they’ve either made or liked regarding Feed the Deed or NekNomination. For anyone who doesn’t, let me explain.

A few weeks ago, a new drinking game called NekNomination started in, people believe, Australia. The original goal of the game was to take a video of yourself drinking a pint of liquor, post that video on Facebook or some social media, and then “nominate” others to do the same. Once a person was nominated, they would have 24 hours to take their video, post it, and nominate a few more people. With this branching off of nominations, the game and the videos quickly spread across the world.

The game has changed since its inception, but it has nonetheless grown in popularity. Most people don’t drink a full pint—a ridiculous 10 shots—in one sitting; instead, they drink a more reasonable amount in some type of creative, original, and (they hope) funny way.

With this widespread drinking game becoming so popular, there was, naturally, some backlash. In particular, the deaths of two kids  attempting to play the game sparked outrage against Facebook for allowing such dangerous and, according to some, stupid videos to continue to be posted and posted and posted. Yet Facebook ignored that outrage, affirming that it would go against their policies to inhibit the freedom of their users. The game, then, continued—and still continues—to be played.

At the same time as NekNominations were sweeping the Internet, a group of university students in Canada, in tandem with an organization called Kindness Counts, began a new viral trend. They saw how powerful and far-reaching NekNominations had become and decided to start a new game—one that might be less fun, but that is far more productive. This new game is called “Feed theDeed.” Its structure is the same as the drinking games, but its premise is more in line with the movie “Pay it Forward.” Instead of taking a video pouring liquor down your throat, people take videos of themselves doing a good deed—a random act of kindness. They then, as with Nek Nominations, post the video to Facebook and nominate a few others to do the same in the next 24 hours.

Now, I’m not in the same boat as those who think NekNominations should be banned from Facebook, and I don’t even necessarily think they’re a bad thing—especially in the form they’ve taken on: they are entertaining, funny, and for the most part harmless. It is, though, much more refreshing—and hopeful—to see Feed the Deed going viral than a funny, yet meaningless drinking game doing so.

Think of how many times you’ve seen something on Facebook, or any social media, that would be considered viral. Planking. The Harlem Shake. A tweet that, if retweeted enough, will make Beyoncé go to prom with some high school senior somewhere. These are all certainly entertaining, but none of them, and few, if any, of the viral sensations we see in today’s social media landscape, serve any purpose more than entertainment or personal interests.

So it’s refreshing and hopeful to see people taking advantage of social media and the viral sensations it can spawn in a positive and realistic way. Sure, drinking champagne while skinny-dipping is probably fun, but going out into the world and doing something nice simply for the sake of doing something nice actually makes a difference. It might not change the world, but it will at least brighten a few days and create a few smiles. And that kindness really does count.

Who knows, you could be nominated next.

Jake has been an avid Wolverine his entire life, and is now a sophomore English major at the University of Michigan. He is passionate about all things Michigan sports, especially football Saturdays in the fall and watching the basketball team in Crisler Arena in the winter. He hopes to follow his undergraduate education by attending law school and then pursuing a career in law.

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